If you mistype Ebay on your way to check out some auctions for gobots or whatever you are into, you may come across www.evay.com. What Evay.com is doing is owning a domain name that is close in spelling to Ebay.com in the hopes that enough people will mispell the name and come to there site. They hope to then make some money off the Ad revenues and click throughs that they can get from their partners. You will notice that their top search links are all Ebay.com related. While this practice is morally questionable and on par with tricking motorist into getting off the highway on the wrong exit with misleading signs and then trying to sell them overpriced goods and services, it is not illegal. After all they paid for the domain name and the hosting and built the site and after all you got lost in the first place.
Now lets just take a look what Verisign has done with their recently squashed “Sitefinder” service.
If you type in www.ebmbay.com you would come up with an error that tells you that their is no domain with that name and you should try something else. When “Sitefinder” was implemented what you would have seen is a page not unlike that of www.evay.com. You would have seen a page with advertisements and click through links and a sentence telling you that the domain that you wanted does not exist. Along with this sentence would be a couple of actual sites that would be close in spelling to what you typed.
The reason that most tech geeks, software organization as well as ICANN, (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) were taken aback and appalled at this “service” is that they were in affect squatting on every internet name not registered for their own gain. (Ad revenue, click through, inflated page stats)
While Verisign would like to say that this is some sort of Innovation on their part. That if they are not free to innovate (Sad copy of lame Microsoft excuse for monopolistic practices) that the internet will eventually die out from lack of investment. The rest of the community I think sees this sad attempt at a business strategie as exactly what it is. A fumbled power grab by a company that cannot compete in it’s core business.
Mark McLaughlin at Verisign would like to say is that “It’s tantamount to saying that the Internet world is flat and therefore there is no need for further exploration.” What I would say to him is that, we know that the Internet world is round and we think that squatting on all the internet names and hijacking peoples experience for your own gain is neither exploration nor innovation.
Go set your internet speed trap somewhere else.